Q&A: Diet talk

Honestly, I've been putting this post off for a while. I get hundreds of emails and questions on my weight loss story. The reason I've put it off for so long is because - I don't want this to become a diet or fitness blog. It's not my goal and honestly it's not something I'm crazily passionate about - but I know it means a lot to many of you. My weight loss story is my highest viewed post of all time. Between the emails and the questions - I know a lot of you are struggling and are so curious of my success story, so I wanted to share more details. I hope this helps inspire you again in the new year. To be clear, this blog post is my personal story and my personal advice. I'm not saying diets work for everybody and I'm definitely not telling women to diet to feel and look better about themselves. I was beautiful before I lost my weight and I'm beautiful now - just like all of you are. Please remember that!

Q: In the start of your weight loss journey, how did you get inspired? Did you put up photos or quotes on the wall?

A: Absolutely! I printed out photos of myself I wasn't happy with and posted them on the fridge. I also stuck with my "every day counts" motto - writing it on sticky notes, in my planner, on a digital sticky note on my computer desktop. I had to constantly remind myself that every little day really did matter. It's so easy to say, "Oh, I'll start my diet again tomorrow." The future is now... it's now or never.

Three years ago, I was not comfortable in my body. I'm not by any means saying I was "fat"; I just felt uncomfortable. I would constantly walk around with my hands covering my belly or sitting with my arms crossed to cover most of my body. I never liked having my photo taken and if I had to have a picture taken, I was posing in whatever way possible to cover myself up. I knew I wanted to do something about it!

Q: Did you ever get to the point where you considered not eating to lose the weight?

A: Absolutely not. I would never consider not eating to lose the weight. It's terribly unhealthy and will only lead to health issues and possibly anorexia or bulimia. I knew I wanted to lose the weight in the healthiest way possible so that it would stay off and I would feel great about what I did to my body - instead of feeling guilty about how I may have harmed myself. Sticking to my healthy diet, exercising regularly helped me get to my goal weight and that is the only way I recommend losing weight.

I was constantly wrapping up in towels during summer, when my favorite thing ever is to be in the water! We live in the Great Lakes State with amazing sandy beaches and fresh water - to go boating and swimming! And I was stuck.. wrapped in a towel. It wasn't a fun experience for me to hold back on so many things I loved doing because I wasn't comfortable with my body.

Q: How did you start working out?

A: I started very foolishly. I went from being sedentary (to not exercising at all) to exercising too much in the beginning. I purchased a gym membership and hopped right onto the elliptical machine at an hour for 4-5x per week. I didn't feel like it was harming my body by doing too much, but within a short amount of time, I suffered a pinched nerve in my leg and could barely walk after that - let alone exercise. I would say ease into working out. Start small - increase your time each week. Cardio was my best way to lose weight. With trying to heal a pinched nerve, I walked the track and eventually starting jogging. I signed up for a 5K, trained for my goal and accomplished it. Start small, go big!

It took me from January 1st to August 1st to lose my ideal goal of 30 pounds. That's an average of 3.33 pounds per month. That is really not much. I took it very slow, which I would absolutely recommend. I felt amazing after losing 20 pounds. The last 10 were the cherry on top of my low-fat cupcake! An average per week of weight loss is 1-2 pounds. Of course, I gained a lot of weeks. I also maintained a lot of weeks. One month I did great - losing 10 pounds. Another month I struggled - losing 2 pounds. It's okay to take your time. Once I did finally get to my goal weight, I was a new person. I was happy, I wore whatever I wanted, I'd whip off my towel and dive into Lake Michigan, I was on top of my world. The time and the struggle was worth it. Plus, I did it the healthy way... and now 2 years later, I'm still eating healthy and maintaining my goal weight.

My most asked question:

Q: How do you stay with the diet even when you are discouraged? Most days I just don't have the energy to "deal with it".

A: I know it's hard, but it's like something inside of you needs to snap. You need to want it more than anything - otherwise it will be pushed to the back burner and eventually forgotten. In order to accomplish things sometimes, you need to be obsessed. And trust me, I was obsessed. I would pop 100-calorie popcorn bags and stuff them into my purse before going to see a movie at the theater. I would spend hours at the grocery store calculating my points with my little calculator. I made a weekly menu and posted it on the fridge. I tracked my points everywhere. I wrote myself sticky notes and posted them everywhere. I was literally obsessed for a really long time - but it just meant I was really passionate about this. It has to become a huge part of your life - especially if you LOVE food like I do!

Q: Do you think I could lose weight without exercising?

A: It all depends. I will say that you should exercise no matter what. I know that it's hard though, especially with the busy lives we all lead. To lose 30 pounds, I would say yes.. it's a given you are going to need to exercise. To lose 5 pounds, I would say it's not vital. I'm currently in the process of losing 10 pounds I gained back and I do not have time to exercise right now. But I always take the stairs at work. During lunch, I try to get outside and go for a walk to pick up my lunch. At home, I try to keep busy cleaning and staying active. Every little bit helps. If you can't run a mile at night or don't have time for a video work-out, think of the small things.

Q: How did Brett feel about your diet? Were you nervous that he might not like your "makeover"?

I was never nervous that Brett might not like the way I looked after I lost my weight. Brett loved me at my heaviest and he loved me at my thinnest - exactly the same. The important thing to Brett is that I'm happy and I'm comfortable and healthy. He was my biggest support system during my struggle with weight loss. He'd sacrifice pizza nights for Subway nights. He waited patiently as I scrambled through the grocery store trying to figure out healthy meals. He suffered through some terrible meals as I was trying to learn how to cook low-cal. He dealt with my insanely late nights at the gym after class. He loves me now, he loved me then and he'll always love me. It's the only thing that matters.

I hope I answered some of your questions! You are always welcome to email me and ask me any questions. If you are struggling and need advice, let me know. I know what it's like to go through this process. If you missed my first dieting post, you can head here to view the "overall" story and to get some resources to help you with dieting. Good luck, everyone!